Friday, October 12, 2012

The Supertooth Buddy and Motorola CLP1040 Radio

Back in August, I wrote about my experiences being able to communicate at work using a combination of my Oticon Streamer and the Motorola CLP1040 radio. At my workplace, we've started using these Bluetooth radios to be able to communicate with others in the building.

As I wrote in my original post, it seemed that my Streamer was going to work fine with the Motorola radio. However, we soon found that there were some challenges. Any time I wanted to use the radio and pair it up with my Streamer, I would need to have someone else walk out of range of my hearing aids and set it up for me. What's more, it would often take a very long time or not work at all. It just wasn't going to work out for me.

The Supertooth Buddy.

The solution came in the form of the Supertooth Buddy, a Bluetooth device intended to serve as a speakerphone in the car. My employer ordered one for me and one for a coworker who also wears hearing aids. We also have one to use for the person who answers the phones at work so they don't have a Bluetooth device in their ear while they try to talk on the phone.

This device eliminates my need to use my Streamer at work. I simply pair it up with the radio. The sound comes through the speaker in the device, rather than through my hearing aids.

Now that I've been using it for a few weeks, I have the system pretty well worked out. It pairs fairly easily. It's small, and comes with a clip, so it clips right on my pants pocket along with the Motorola radio. The only difficulty I sometimes encounter is being able to hear if someone is trying to get ahold of me. The volume can be set fairly loudly, though, so it usually isn't a problem.

It may seem a little unorthodox to be using a car speakerphone as a communication device at work, but when it comes to making things accessible, sometimes all it takes is a little thinking outside the box!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Netflix Will Caption All Of Its Video By 2014

By 2014, all of Netflix's streaming video will be captioned, according to Disability Scoop.

Netflix has been in legal battles over captioning for years, since they were sued in 2010 over their captioned content (or lack thereof). Even as they fought various rulings, the number of captioned videos on Netflix rose, to the point that 90% of their videos are captioned today.

I'm very happy to see this ruling. As a fairly recent Netflix subscriber, I've found that most of what I want to watch is captioned, but there are always exceptions. For me, those exceptions mostly come in the form of various documentaries and educational TV shows I'd like to watch - now I'll finally be able to, as long as Netflix doesn't make severe cuts to its streaming library as a result of this decision.

Combined with Amazon.com's recent decision to start captioning its Instant Video titles and the FCC's deadlines on captioned internet video, I think we're finally near a point where accessibility is recognized as an important part of providing online media.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Amazon Has Begun Captioning its Instant Video Titles

The FCC has instituted a schedule that requires Internet video that meets certain requirements be closed captioned. As a response to the first deadline, which was September 30th, Amazon.com has begun captioning some of its Instant Video titles.

TechCrunch reports that some Amazon users received an email explaining the new captions feature and how to search Amazon.com for captioned Instant Video titles. It's fairly easy to browse, as an option shows up on the left-hand side when you're browsing movies or television on the web site.

The Amazon.com Instant Video page showing a Closed Caption search option.


As you can see (click to enlarge the screenshot if necessary), when I took a look at Amazon.com, 88 movies had closed-captioning in English. It's only a small percentage of the thousands of videos available on Amazon.com, but it's a start. As we've seen with Netflix, it can take a company awhile to go through their library and add captions or subtitling options.

I'm glad to see that Amazon.com Instant Video is now something that I can consider as an option if I want to watch a movie or a TV show. Hopefully, with these new regulations from the FCC, we'll see a lot more accessibility.

Monday, October 1, 2012

How To Easily Caption or Subtitle Your YouTube Videos

Over on my blog for my college class, Accessibility Basics, I've added a tutorial on how to use Amara to easily subtitle your YouTube videos. It was super simple for me to do and I plan to use it for all of my future videos.


Here's the video I used for the tutorial, if anyone is curious about what I sound like! Haha. This snippet of video is intended to eventually become a longer video tutorial on captioning.